Police report that a pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle on New Year’s Day in Hillsborough. It is reported that the pedestrian was a teenage boy. He sustained serious physical injuries in the collision. Police indicate that the boy was struck while walking on West Main Street in Hillsborough when the accident occurred.
It is reported that the pedestrian was walking with a group of friends when he was struck. The police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident on West Main Street.
It remains unclear whether the pedestrian had an available crosswalk at this particular area of West Main Street in Hillsborough when the accident happened. However, the operator of a motor vehicle is not absolved from responsibility. A motorist is required a keep a proper look out. He is not permitted to strike a pedestrian, regardless of where he was walking, if the impact could’ve been avoided. That is especially the case if the pedestrian was walking with a large group of people. The group would’ve been readily observable to a vehicle operator.
Under these circumstances, the New Year’s Day pedestrian struck in Hillsborough case typically falls on the issue of comparative fault. Sometimes the pedestrian and the motorist are responsible for an accident. In such a case, a jury is asked to apportion a percentage of fault to each party involved. For example, assume the available insurance coverage is $100,000 and a pedestrian is found to be 10% at fault. In that case, his recovery would be reduced by $10,000.
Additionally, the standard of reasonable care is based on what a reasonable minor teenager would do under those circumstances. In essence, you don’t compare the behavior of a minor teenager who got hit by a car to a grown adult who may exercise more caution.
It is also important to point out that when the police conduct a lay investigation (one without an accident reconstruction), their opinion is not dispositive. If the responding officer determines the teenager is responsible for getting hit, that evidence does not come out at trial. That is because the officer was not a witness to the car accident. Ultimately the jury decides fault, not the police.
In practical terms, the insurance company evaluating the teenage pedestrian struck in Hillsborough claim is going to defer to the police report. However, an experienced car accident attorney is not going to take no for an answer. He will push the case deep into litigation if there’s a strong theory of liability that can be proven at trial on behalf of the teenager who got hit.
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